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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has yet to sign a bill that would put key pieces of the state budget in place.  Quinn has until July 15th to sign House Bill 214. If he doesn't, the Illinois comptroller won't have the ability to issue paychecks to state employees. Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says the governor is carefully reviewing the bill.

Illinois high school juniors will be given a writing test for the first time in years next spring.

The test will be part of annual standardized tests, but lawmakers haven’t given the state board of education the money to pay for the essays.

State auditors say the Illinois Department of Natural Resources didn't employ enough mine-safety inspectors the past two years to comply with state law.

An Illinois Auditor General's report released yesterday says the department had 10 inspectors for more than 40 mines. The state Coal Mining Act calls for at least 16 inspectors.

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Wet weather has dampened some under-brush maintenance at the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.

WSIL-TV reports that crews in the sprawling forest haven't been able to do as many controlled burns as they'd like because of wet conditions. Shawnee’s fuel specialist Scott Crist, says the burns help curb the potential spread of any fire that might erupt on the acreage. The controlled fires also help reduce shade that could kill off native grasses and flowers that need sunlight.


The Illinois House completed seven hours of debate on the contentious issue of public gun possession by adopting a comprehensive plan long pushed by advocates.

The vote in favor of Representative Brandon Phelps' amendment doesn't mean concealed-carry got House approval. Phelps’ plan was one of a dozen amendments to a concealed-carry bill a federal court says Illinois must adopt by June. 

The Illinois Department of Insurance is warning consumers that a Florida-based company is illegally marketing home warranty services to residents in the state. The agency says Arkidus Home Protection continues to market the warranties despite a previous cease and desist order from the Illinois Insurance Department. They say the state of Florida has taken similar action against Arkidus for illegal activity. The company markets warranties for household appliances via the Internet.

An Illinois Senate committee has approved legalizing gay marriage for the second time in a month. The Executive Committee voted 9-5 yesterday to move legislation giving marital rights to same sex couples to the Senate floor. The Democrats have a 40-member majority and say they have the votes needed. The same committee OK'd a similar measure just after the New Year in the final days of the last General Assembly. But a floor vote was scuttled because supporters feared they were short of the 30 necessary votes.

Legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois is expected to come up in a Senate committee meeting today and could see a floor vote on Valentine's Day. Democratic Senator Heather Steans is the bill’s sponsor. She says it's on the executive committee's agenda, and she's confident it has the support to pass the Senate next week.

The Illinois State Board of Education wants lawmakers to increase funding for schools by $874 million next year. The board recommended the 13.4 percent increase at their meeting today. Finance Committee Chairman Jim Baumann says 67 percent of school districts are in deficit spending.

Illinois school administrators, teachers and law enforcement will meet today to discuss how to make Illinois schools safer.